A HAMPSHIRE firm has established itself as the world's leading boat accommodation after taking over a French rival.

Lymington-based Beds on Board, established in 2015 on the Airbnb model, is a peer-to-peer platform which links up boat owners with people who'd like to spend some time afloat.

This week it was announced that the firm had acquired competitor Boatyng, adding thousands of new beds to its inventory from marinas and waterways across France and Europe.

Boatyng accommodation fleet ranges from a houseboat with view of the Eiffel Tower to a superyacht in the Riviera.

Co-founder Jason Ludlow said: “This is a major step in our growth and a really exciting addition to the Beds on Board story. We already have boats in over 60 countries and this strategic deal will give immediate benefits to guests wanting to holiday in France.”

“The sharing economy gives people access to things they couldn’t access before. With us that’s boats and staying on a boat offers great value from budget breaks to luxury coastal stays or city chic ‘boatrooms’.”

Beds on Board was founded by Sir Peter Ogden and brothers Jason and Tim Ludlow.

It has the aim of introducing a million beds into the global tourism market without building a single property.

Jason and Tim have a lifelong link to Lymington with both their parents and grandparents mooring boats locally and belonging to the local sailing clubs.

Jason was previously a Lymington RNLI crew member and a founding partner of the Shipyard Bar & Kitchen.